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PSLE Syllabus

PSLE Syllabus Overview

The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is the first major exam for most Singapore students and is taken quite seriously. Prep work begins as soon as a child enrols in Primary school. The nationally-held exam, taken by Primary 6 children, marks the end of Primary school and the beginning of Secondary education.

Primary 6 students must study 4 main subjects — English, Mathematics, Science and Mother Tongue Language (MTL). Primary 5 or 6 children are offered English Language, Mathematics, Science and Mother Tongue Language (MTL) at the Foundation or Standard levels based on their Primary 4 results. A child may also be offered Higher MTL depending on their MTL results.

Click to learn more about each PSLE subject:


We all know that English is the main language in official communication in multicultural Singapore. Hence, the emphasis is on learning the language well. The focus is not just on how to read, write or speak, but to do all three proficiently. Primary students are exposed to English through various activities, including reading, writing, listening and speaking. Two levels are offered in English — Standard and Foundation. Primary 6 students must appear for two written, one listening paper and one Oral totalling 200 marks. Let's take a peek at the PSLE English syllabus:

Listening, Reading, Speaking

  •  Identify consonants, vowels, consonant clusters and vowel combinations
  •  Identify and emulate the pace, volume, tone and stress clearly
  •  Process keywords and phrases in a text, and talk about their significance
  •  Listen to, view and respond to a variety of spoken, audio and visual texts
  •  Identify the gist/main idea; respond to questions
  •  Extensive exposure to books, stories, narratives and poems


  •  Apply skills and strategies for idea generation, selection, and revision in writing
  •  Organise facts and points of view appropriately to the mode of delivery, purpose
  •  Review, revise, proofread and edit to improve writing and representation
  •  Express feelings and thoughts through freewriting on self-selected topics
  •  Learn journal writing, emails, letters and notices


  •  Learn and use different types of nouns, pronouns, adjectives correctly.
  •  Apply knowledge of grammatical rules at the word and phrase level.
  •  Learn the use of Punctuation, Modals, Adverbs, Connectors
  •  Use verbs with appropriate clauses and sentence structures
  •  Focus on the structure of a sentence
  •  Form questions and answers by varying the structure of sentences


  •  Building a rich vocabulary through constant reading
  •  Correct usage in sentence formation
  •  Use Compound words, Idiom, Simile, Synonym, Antonym, Prefix, Suffix, phrasal verbs and word cline appropriately
  •  Learn the vocabulary of fixed expressions and what they mean

Sentence formation

  •  Knowledge of grammatically correct sentences
  •  Use of correct pronouns, adjectives and verbs
  •  Using connectors to merge two simple sentences


  •   Use accurate and consistent spelling. 
  •   Knowledge of collective nouns, homophone spellings



PSLE Math assesses pupils’ attainment in mathematics at the end of primary education with respect to the objectives of the Primary Mathematics syllabus. It aims to teach our pupils important life skills in thinking, analysing and problem-solving.

Be prepared as Math is extensive in PSLE and it’s crucial that students constantly practice. From finding out the area of a triangle in Geometry to multiplying and dividing decimals, from fractions to four operations, Math is mainly divided into three sections: Number and Algebra, Geometry and Statistics. 

Number and Algebra

Whole Numbers

  • Reading and writing numbers in numerals and in words up to 10 million
  • Number notation, representations and place values up to ten thousands
  • Number patterns
  • Rounding numbers to nearest 10, 100 or 1000
  • Factors and Multiples
  • Order of operations with or without brackets
  • Multiplication of numbers up to 4 digits by 1 digit or 3 digits by 2 digits
  • Division of numbers up to 4 digits by 1 digit
  • Multiplying and dividing by 10, 100, 1000 and their multiples
  • Solving word problems involving 4 operations using part-whole and comparison models


  • Using a letter to represent an unknown number
  • Simplifying simple linear expressions
  • Evaluating simple linear expressions by substitution
  • Solving simple linear equations involving whole number coefficient

Fractions and Divisions

  • Equivalent fractions
  • Conversion of mixed numbers into improper fractions and vice versa
  • Fraction of a set
  • Dividing a proper fraction  by whole number and vice versa without calculator
  • Adding and subtracting fractions in mixed numbers and proper fractions
  • Multiplying proper fractions, improper fractions or whole numbers without calculator
  • Multiplying two improper fractions
  • Multiplying a mixed number and a whole number
  • Converting decimals to fractions, and vice versa
  • Solving word problems using four operations


  • Notation, representations and place values
  • Comparing and ordering of decimals
  • Rounding decimals to nearest whole number, 1 decimal place or 2 decimal places
  • Dividing and multiplying decimal numbers without calculator
  • Doing division sums with decimal as quotient without calculator
  • Rounding answers to a specified degree of accuracy
  • Convert a measurement from a smaller unit to a larger unit in decimal form, and vice versa
  • Solving 3-step word problems using four operations


  •  Finding a percentage part of a whole
  •  Finding the whole given a part and the percentage
  •  Finding percentage increase/decrease
  •  Finding annual interest, discounts and GST
  •  Solving word problems using percentage


  • Notation and representation of ratio
  • Understanding equivalent ratios and expressing a ratio in its simplest form
  • Deducing the ratio of given quantities and/or dividing a quantity in its given ratio
  • Working out the relationship between fraction and ratio
  • Solving word problems involving ratio, changing ratio

Rate and Speed

  • Finding rate and solving word problems involving rate
  • Concept of speed and average speed
  • Different units of speed (e.g. km/h; m/sec etc)
  • Relationship between distance, time and speed
  • Solving 3-step word problems involving speed and average speed


Measurement and Geometry

Length, Volume and Mass

  • Measuring length in kilometres, volume in millilitres, mass in kilograms
  • Conversion of compound units to smaller unit and vice versa: kilometres and metres, metres and centimetres, kilograms and grams, litres and millilitres
  • Solving problems involving length/mass/volume


  • Measuring time in seconds, minutes and hours
  • 24-hour clock
  • Solving problems involving time in 24-hour clock

Area and Perimeter

  • Understanding base and height of triangle
  • Determining area and perimeter of different shapes (square, rectangle and triangle, circle, semicircle, quarter circle)
  • Finding out the area and perimeter of  composite figures made up of rectangles, squares and triangles

Volume of cube/cuboid

  • Finding the volume of a cuboid/cube and liquid in a rectangular tank
  • Finding the length of one edge of a cube given its volume
  • Finding one dimension of a cuboid given its volume and other dimensions
  • Finding the area of face of a cuboid given its volume and one dimension
  • Building solids using unit cubes
  • Using calculator to find out the square root and cube root of numbers and relate them to the length of squares and cubes given their areas and volumes


  • Measuring and drawing angles in degrees
  • 8-point compass
  • Symmetry
  • Parallel and perpendicular lines
  • Properties of an isosceles, equilateral and right-angled triangle
  • Properties of  quadrilaterals (4-sided figures): parallelogram, rhombus and trapezium
  • Sketching and drawing different triangles and special quadrilaterals on a square grid according to given angles and lengths using ruler, protractor and set squares.
  • Describe and illustrate various angle properties: angles on a straight line, angles at a point, vertically opposite angles

  Finding unknown angles

  • Finding unknown angles of composite figures involving parallelogram, rhombus etc


  • 2D/3D representation using unit cubes of different shapes
  • Identifying nets of 3D solids
  • Identifying solids formed by given nets


Pie Charts

  • Reading and interpreting data from a pie chart
  • Solving one-step problems using data from tables or bar and line graphs

Data Analysis

  • Average as total value divided by the number of data
  • Relationship between average, total value and number of data
  • Solving 2-step problems involving average



A student can sit for the PSLE Science paper under the Foundation or the Standard level, depending on their aptitude for the subject. The difference between the two levels is the depth in which a student studies the subject. The primary school Science syllabus is created based on themes students can relate to in their everyday experiences. The five themes are Diversity, Cycles, Systems, Energy and Interactions. A detail of the syllabus:


Diversity of Living and Non Living Things

  • Describe the characteristics of living things (need air, food and water to survive)
  • Recognise broad groups of living things: plants, animals, fungi, bacteria
  • Observe a variety of living and non-living things and infer the differences between them
  • Classify living and non-living things into the broad groups based on similarities and differences of common observable characteristics

Diversity of Materials

  •  Relate the use of various types of materials (ceramic, fabric, glass, metal, plastics, rubber, wood) to their physical properties
  •  Compare the physical properties of materials based on their: strength, flexibility, waterproof, transparency, ability to float or sink in water


Cycles in Plants and Animals

  •  Show an understanding that different living things have different life cycles: Plants, Animals
  •  Compare the life cycles of plants and animals over a period of time
  •  Learning that living things reproduce to ensure continuity of their tribe
  •  Many characteristics of an organism are passed on from parents to offspring
  •  Recognising the process of fertilisation in sexual reproduction of flowering plants: pollination, fertilisation (seed production), seed dispersal, germination
  •  Recognise the process of fertilisation in the sexual reproduction of humans
  •  Recognising similarity in terms of fertilisation in the sexual reproduction of flowering plants and humans

Cycles in Matter and Water

  •  State that matter is anything that has mass and occupies space
  •  Differentiate between the three states of matter (solid, liquid, gas) in terms of shape and volume
  •  Recognising that water can exist in three interchangeable states of matter
  •  Understanding how water changes from one state to another
  •  Knowing terms like melting, freezing, boiling
  •  Show an understanding of the roles of evaporation and condensation in the water cycle and factors that affect them
  •  Recognise the importance of the water cycle, water to life processes
  •  Describe the impact of water pollution on Earth’s water resources


Plant System

  • Identify the different parts of plants and stating their functions
  • Identifying the parts of the plant transport system and describing their functions.

Human System

  •  Identify the organ system and how they work with other systems (digestive, respiratory, circulatory, skeletal and muscular)
  •  Recognise the gases that make up air
  •  Nitrogen
  •  Carbon dioxide
  •  Oxygen
  •  Water vapour
  •  Identifying organs of human respiratory and circulatory systems, and describe their functions
  •  Identifying organs in human digestive system and describe their functions
  •  Compare f gas exchange for oxygen and carbon dioxide in plants, fish and humans
  •  Compare the ways in which substances are transported within plants and humans

Cell System

  •  Understanding that a cell is a basic unit of life. 
  •  Identifying the different parts of a plant cell and animal cell.
  •  Relate the parts of a plant cell to its functions in cell wall, cell membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus and chloroplasts
  •  Relate parts of an animal cell to its functions in cell membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus. 
  •  Compare a typical plant and animal cell.

Electrical System

  •  Recognise the circuit components that form anelectrical system
  •  Knowing that current can flow only in a closed circuit. 
  •  Identifying electrical conductors and insulators. 
  •  Constructing simple circuits and understanding effect of variables on the current of a circuit such as number of batteries in series and number of bulbs in series and parallel


Interactions of Forces

  • Recognise a magnet can exert a push or a pull
  • Identify the characteristics of magnets
    • magnets can be made of iron or steel
    • magnets have two poles
    • unlike poles attract and like poles repel
    • magnets attract magnetic materials
  • List some uses of magnets in everyday objects
  • Identifying a force as a push or a pull. 
  • Show an understanding of the effects of a force. 
  • Different types of forces 
    • magnetic force
    • gravitational force
    • elastic spring force
    • frictional force
  •  Understanding why objects have weight due to gravitational force
  •  Effect of friction on the motion of objects and communicate findings
  •  Effects of forces on springs and communicate findings       

Interactions within the Environment

  •  Factors that affect the survival of an organism
  •   physical characteristics of the environment (temperature, light, water)
  • availability of food
  • types of other organisms present (producers, consumers, decomposers)
  •  Unfavourable environment and effect on organisms
  •  Adaptation and how it enhances survival, both structural and behavioural
  •  Trace the energy pathway from the Sun in a food chain and a food web
  •  Differentiate the terms organism, population and community
  •  Man’s impact on the environment
  •  Show understanding that different habitats support different communities (garden, field, pond, seashore etc)


Energy Forms and Uses

  •  Recognise an object can be seen when it reflects light or when it is a source of light
  •  Recognise that a shadow is formed when light is completely or partially blocked by an object
  •  Investigate the variables that affect shadows formed and communicate findings
  •  Sources of heat and differentiation between heat and temperature
  •  State that the temperature of an object is a measurement of its degree of hotness
  •  Understanding heat flows from hotter to a colder object
  •  Relate the change in temperature of an object to the gain or loss of heat by the object
  •  List some effects of heat gain/loss in our everyday life such as change in state of matter and contraction/expansion of objects
  • Identify good and poor conductors of heat
  •  State that living things need energy to carry out life processes
  •  Recognise Sun as a primary source of energy
  •  Differentiate  how plants and animals obtain energy 
  •  Photosynthesis and its requirements

Energy Conversion

  •  Understanding that most energy resources are due to the Sun
  •  Various forms of energy
    • kinetic energy
    • potential energy
    • light energy
    • electrical energy
    • sound energy
    • heat energy
    • Energy conversion from one form to another


Chinese Language

Paper 1: Writing / 写作


  1. The writing should be clear and concise. It should also keep in mind the audience, purpose and context.
  2. Use an appropriate tone to articulate ideas.
  3. Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and vocabulary.

Paper 2: Language use and comprehension / 语文理解与应用 


  1. Show that the student can understand the text and read between the lines.
  2. Understand how lexical and grammatical pieces are used.
  3. Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and vocabulary.

Paper 3: Oral communication and Listening comprehension / 口试,听力


  1. Understand spoken text
  2. Identify key ideas and messages.
  3. Know how to correctly infer information and come to the right conclusion.
  4. Speak clearly and fluently.
  5. Be able to articulate ideas correctly.
  6. Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and vocabulary.


Other Mother Tongue Languages

Singapore schools offer several languages as a second language to encourage bilingualism. Apart from this, the Ministry of Education encourages stresses the importance of Mother Tongue Language (MTL) to: 

  •  Keep one’s cultural heritage alive. 
  • Communicate with a broader audience outside of Singapore

Like other subjects, MTL is offered at Foundation and Standard levels depending on the student’s aptitude and marks. Students who have shown interest and aptitude in pursuing their mother tongue at a higher level may be offered the Higher Mother Tongue (HMTL) language, which is an additional subject on top of the MTL (be it standard or foundation level)

The 3 official MTLs are:

  •  Chinese
  •  Malay
  •  Tamil

Students who are of that ethnicity will automatically be studying their own MTL.  So, what happens to students who are not of the above ethnicity or are of mixed parentage? Well, such students can officially put in a request to study any of the languages above. Those who belong to a non-Tamil speaking Indian ethnicity will also get to choose from other Indian languages like Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu, which are also offered outside of the school.

Interestingly, from 2022, schools may offer Higher Mother Tongue Languages (Malay, Tamil) from Primary 3 onwards. Higher Malay and Tamil languages will be offered to Primary 4 from 2023 onwards. 

Information courtesy of

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Who sets the questions in the PSLE examination?

The PSLE examination is set by Singapore Examination and Assessment Board (SEAB) in conjunction with the Ministry of Education (MOE). This important task is undertaken by a panel of subject specialists equipped with knowledge of the assessment criteria. After undergoing a series of discussions to ensure each paper meets the requirements of its syllabus, the content is then vetted by senior examiners before its finalised.

Q2: Where can I download exam papers to prepare my child for PSLE 2023?

To help your child get in PSLE-ready shape, download our free exam papers for some extra practice!

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